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User Experience at Hello Erik

12 Hours to TajRiba Keynote. Helping bring true UX to Africa.

Posted September 10, 2013

Tonight at 1 a.m., I will be delivering a talk at the “TajRiba”, the first iHub UX Lab UX conference in Nairobi Kenya. (TajRiba is Swahili for experience). This is the first real sub-Saharan Africa UX and design gathering of people who want to learn, educate, and delight. It offers real design thinking and support to a developing region that needs some guidance and inspiration! The iHub is responsible for some world changing ideas, like the Ushahidi, and being a part of this is a great honor for me.

From the TajRiba website:

TajRiba is Swahili for experience. It is the first user experience month in Africa that brings world class User Centered Design experts to Nairobi to give a series of practical, hands-on training sessions that help African develop products that solve African problems.

TajRiba helps university students, software developers, designers and entrepreneurs learn practical methods of developing ideas and solutions from a user’s perspective. It is a yearly event that brings world class Human Centered Design skills to the local community, allow us to network with fellow doers and have fun designing for Africa!

TajRiba is organized by iHub UX lab with the support of Google.

I am overjoyed to be a keynote speaker. This is a chance to spread true, higher order UX and design thinking to people who are eager to soak it up. Empathy, empowerment, putting the forethought and research into what we build to impact users and people in positive ways that go beyond usability and into real meaning and delight.

Everyone has the capability to solve problems, delight, and empower. I can’t wait to share the passion I have for this and hopefully motivate some people to get out there and make a difference. UX is more than just designing, usability, interface. It’s the way we make these “communications systems” that work, provide feedback to the user, create outcomes that bring that emotional experience that keep people coming back and giving them opportunities to be delighted.

It’s a world of noise. The job of UX is to reduce noise and let experience flourish. Like Marshall MacLuhan said “the medium is the message.” UX is here to make that message as clear and sharp as it can be, to pierce the noise through the medium. We don’t fight noise with more noise, we fight it with clarity and providing what is needed.

And how about the metaphor of just a passionate UX Zealot broadcasting 9000mi (14000km) across the world to share this message. There’s no border between experience and meaning. We all do this together. And it’s our first time! Talk about a prototype! This is going to change everything! Here’s a little preview of the UX broadcast headquarters:


Just 12 hours left. I can’t wait, there’s nothing more important than spreading the word of empathy, bringing humanity and meaning to the mundane, and making better things that solve real problems. We can show people that UX is not UI, it’s a way of thinking, building, and connecting people and technology in ways that have real meaning. That is why I do this.

(Video and slides posted tomorrow at

P.S. Next monday I’m doing a second Keynote on “The Elements of Prototyping” which will have it’s own page and post as well ;)


I love all things experience design. I work as a Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit in Mountain View, CA.

One Response

  1. Erik Flowers
    Erik Flowers September 11, 2013 at 1:31 am |

    What a great experience that was! I’ll be posting the resources over at for anyone who missed it or wants to keep things to review. A detailed article about this whole experience is coming soon…

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